NYC Trying Out Electric Cabs

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky announced six electric Nissan LEAF taxicabs will ply the city's streets as part of a pilot program lasting up to a year. The idea is to see how their charging requirements fit into the typical 24/7 business model of the taxi industry and also help the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission prepare for a one-third electric taxi fleet by 2020, a goal Bloomberg announced in his 2013 State of the City speech.

According to the mayor's office, an all-electric NYC taxi fleet could cut CO2 emissions by nearly 90,000 tons annually. Fueling a single cab costs up to $17,500 annually, so electric ones could be less expensive to operate and maintain.

Ken Srebnik, head of Corporate Planning for Environmental Initiatives at Nissan North America, joined Bloomberg and Yassky for the announcement. Partners in the Nissan LEAF project include the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, the NYC Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Energy, AeroVironment, Related Management, Seward Park Cooperative, Con Edison, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the New York Power Authority.

"Even though the Taxi of Tomorrow won't be on the road for another six months, we're already looking ahead to the taxi of the day after tomorrow," Bloomberg said. "Nissan's proven track record with electric vehicles will put us ahead of the curve in helping us answer important questions about incorporating electric taxis into the fleet so that we can achieve the goal of a one-third electric taxi fleet by 2020."

"As part of our commitment to zero emission vehicles for the mass-market, Nissan is looking for ways to broaden the use of electric cars, including commercial applications like taxis," said Joe Castelli, vice president of Nissan Commercial Vehicles. He said the city is "the ultimate proving ground to conduct this LEAF taxi pilot to help optimize the use of electric vehicle technology for future applications."

According to the mayor's office, the LEAFs will be charged at owners' homes or fleet garages using standard chargers and with the city's first fast chargers.

Posted by Jerry Laws on Apr 24, 2013